The NTT IndyCar Series hads back to the Indianapolis Speedway road course on Saturday for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix. Odds are in favour of Scott Dixon to continue to close the gap to series leader Alex Palou, as he has finished first or second in four of his last seven starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Alex Palou leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with five races to go for the first time in his INDYCAR SERIES career. Palou has led the point standings after seven of the 11 races this season.
Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in 2014, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship twice: Simon Pagenaud in 2016 and Scott Dixon (2020-Race 1).
The 42 points that separate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon is the seventh-closest point margin since 2008. Entering this season, the average lead with five races to go since 2008 was 43.9 points.
The race is timed to go at 1pm Saturday 14 August (5am Sunday 15 August NZ time)
NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings: Palou 410, Dixon 368, O’Ward 362, Newgarden 335, Ericsson 331, Rahal 286, Pagenaud 280, Herta 275, VeeKay 263, Sato 231
Here are the Fast Facts
There have been eight different winners in 11 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1, Streets of Nashville) and Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
There have been eight different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Scott Dixon, Pato O’Ward, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Marcus Ericsson and Josef Newgarden) The only repeat winners in that stretch are O’Ward (Texas-2 and Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2) and Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville)
The Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix will be the 11th INDYCAR SERIES event conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Rinus VeeKay are the only drivers to win on the IMS road course. Pagenaud won the GMR Grand Prix in 2014, 2016 and 2019, Power won the GMR Grand Prix in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and the second race of the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader in 2020. Dixon won the 2020 GMR Grand Prix, Newgarden won the first race of the 2020 Harvest GP doubleheader and VeeKay won the GMR Grand Prix in May.
The 28 cars entered in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix is the largest field of cars entered in a non-Indianapolis 500 INDYCAR SERIES race since 29 cars started at Kentucky Speedway in 2011.
Romain Grosjean, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist and Sebastian Saavedra have won the pole position in the GMR Grand Prix. Saavedra claimed the pole in 2014, Power in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020, Pagenaud in 2016, Rosenqvist in 2019 and Grosjean in May of this year. Power and Rinus VeeKay won the NTT P1 Award in the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader last October.
Four NTT P1 Award winners have won the GMR Grand Prix from the pole: Will Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016. Power also won the second Harvest GP race from pole in 2020.
Eight drivers have competed in every INDYCAR SERIES race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All are entered this weekend.
Scott Dixon has finished first or second in four of his last seven starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Six rookies — RC Enerson, Romain Grosjean, Jimmie Johnson, Christian Lundgaard, Scott McLaughlin and Cody Ware — are entered this weekend. Enerson will be making his first start of 2021, while Lundgaard will be making his INDYCAR SERIES debut. Ware will be attempting to compete in both the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Saturday and NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.
Twenty-five of the 28 drivers entered in the event have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races on the IMS road course. Fifteen entered drivers have led laps in INDYCAR SERIES races: Will Power 285, Scott Dixon 69, Simon Pagenaud 68, Josef Newgarden 59, Rinus VeeKay 48, Romain Grosjean 44, Graham Rahal 41, Colton Herta 29, Ryan Hunter-Reay 22, Felix Rosenqvist 16, James Hinchcliffe 4, Alexander Rossi 2, Marcus Ericsson 1, Jack Harvey 1 and Alex Palou 1.